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The Best Healthy Cupcakes We've Ever Seen!

You'll lick the bowl clean after whipping up any of these healthy cupcakes! We collected our favorite guilt-free recipes, which cleverly use more nourishing options to replace the fattening elements in traditional cupcakes. But don't be fooled by ingredients such as vitamin-loaded veggies and protein-rich grains—each treat still explodes with delectably sweet flavor.

Vegan Chocolate Chai Tea Cupcakes
Even non-vegans will appreciate this scrumptious dessert. A combination of almond milk, apple cider vinegar, cocoa powder, and more produces a fluffy chocolate cupcake, while chai tea lends an aromatic flavor to the buttercream frosting. Non-vegans can replace the Earth Balance with regular butter.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1 c. almond milk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/3 c. vegetable oil

3/4 c. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/3 c. cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

For the frosting:

1/2 c. Earth Balance vegan margarine (or butter)

3-4 c. powdered sugar

2 chai tea bags

2 tbsp. boiling water

2 tbsp. almond milk

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the vinegar with the almond milk and let sit for five minutes. Whisk together the almond milk/vinegar, oil, sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add wet to dry and mix until combined. Pour batter into greased cupcake molds and bake for 25 minutes, or until springy. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

Beat the Earth Balance until soft. Brew the tea in the two tablespoons of boiling water and let sit for ten minutes to steep. Then, add the almond milk. Add that mixture, plus the powdered sugar and cinnamon to the earth balance and continue to beat for 10 minutes until very light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by Koko's Kitchen

Pistachio Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream Frosting
Naturally sweet, buttery pistachios offer the perfect base for these treats. Bursting with chopped pistachios, which pack a nutritious punch, each cupcake is full of nutty flavor. The fruity frosting in this recipe calls for a healthier blend of Greek yogurt and fresh blackberries instead of a typical high-calorie option.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

3 1/2 oz. package pistachio pudding mix

2/3 c. sugar

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 c. white chocolate chips

Ener-G egg replacer for 2 eggs (3 tsp. Ener-G and 4 tbsp. water thoroughly mixed together)

1 1/2 c. soy milk

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 heaping c. pistachios, chopped

For the frosting:

1/4 c. butter, softened

1/8 c. Greek yogurt

1/2 c. fresh blackberries

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. lemon zest

1/8 tsp. salt

1 16 oz. package powdered sugar, plus 1 c.

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, add the first six ingredients and stir to combine. Be sure to sift your flour. In a separate bowl, add egg replacements, milk, oil, chopped pistachios and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture, stir well but do not overmix. Fill paper-lined cupcake tin 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.

For the frosting:

Beat first six ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.

Makes about 18 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by Koko's Kitchen

Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes
Keep it simple with these gluten-free cupcakes made from commonplace ingredients found in any kitchen pantry. With an equal ratio of egg whites, gluten-free flour, sugar, and butter, measuring ingredients is quick and easy. This blogger used the frosting recipe found here to top each tasty treat.

Ingredients:

6 oz./170 g. egg whites at room temperature

1/2 c. whole milk at room temperature, divided

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

6 oz./170 g. gluten-free flour

6 oz./170 g. organic sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. fine sea salt

6 oz./170 g. organic butter, at room temperature and cut into cubes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or line muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites with 1/4 c. of milk and the vanilla. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt together on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter cubes and remaining 1/4 c. of milk. Mix on low speed until the butter has been incorporated. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1-2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg mixture in 3 separate batches; beat on medium speed for 20-30 seconds after each addition. Pour or scoop batter into cupcake liners and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Let cool on racks completely before frosting the cupcakes.

Makes about 16 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by Healthy Green Kitchen

Healthy Almond Cupcakes with Pomegranate Frosting
This recipe requires several steps, but the result is a delectable creation reduced in both sugar and fat. Almond extract sweetens these cupcakes, while applesauce bestows a moist texture. As an antioxidant-rich bonus, each cupcake is coated in tangy pomegranate frosting.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. white whole-wheat flour (King Arthur)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/3 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. butter, softened

1/2 tsp. almond extract

2 large eggs

2/3 c. unsweetened applesauce

For the frosting:

3 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)

1/4 c. confectioner's sugar

1 tbsp. pomegranate molasses

For the pomegranate molasses:

2 c. POM Wonderful pomegranate juice

3 tbsp. sugar

Splash of fresh lemon juice

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 10 muffin cups with liners. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer or with a handheld electric mixer and a large bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, vanilla and almond at high speed for about two minutes, or until well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Now add the flour mixture alternately with the applesauce, beating after each addition until just combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin until each cup is 3/4 full and place in oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top and a toothpick poked into the middle of the cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely on rack before frosting.

For the frosting:

Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric hand mixer until well mixed and fluffy. Add the pomegranate molasses in and beat until incorporated. Using a small offset spatula, ice the cupcakes. Icing will be somewhat runny initially. Once the iced cupcakes are stored in the refrigerator it should set.

For the pomegranate molasses:

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 40-50 minutes until the mixture has a thick consistency. Let cool, the use or store in the refrigerator.

Makes 10 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by Handle The Heat

Clean Eating Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chocolate Pumpkin Frosting
Your daily calorie intake won't suffer if you indulge in one of these pumpkin muffins, which clock in at 179 calories each. Topped with a generous spread of chocolate pumpkin frosting, these cupcakes make a satisfying snack or dessert.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1 c. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix, just pure pumpkin)

1/2 c. almond milk

2 egg whites

1/2 c. safflower oil (or any light-flavored oil)

1/2 c. honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 c. whole-wheat pastry flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

For the frosting:

1/2 c. canned pumpkin

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 c. honey

1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line your cupcake tins with cupcake papers or grease the tin itself. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your pumpkin, almond milk, egg whites, safflower oil, honey and vanilla extract. In a second mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Whisk the flour mixture into the liquid mixture and blend well. If your batter is too thick, add a little extra almond milk (about 1/4 c. at a time until you reach a thick, yet runny consistency). Pour into tins, and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.


For the frosting:

Place all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and whisk until well blended. Remove cupcakes from oven, allow to cool and spread frosting over the tops.

Makes about 16 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by The Gracious Pantry

Lemon Ricotta Cupcakes with Blackberry Icing
Creamy ricotta brings out a cheesecake-like flavor in these luscious lemony gems. Blend tart blackberries into store-bought vanilla icing for an easy, naturally colorful finishing touch.

Ingredients:

2 c. good quality part-skim ricotta

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg + 1 egg white

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 c. cake flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 dash salt

1 lemon, zested

6 tbsp. prepared vanilla buttercream

1/4 c. blackberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ricotta, sugar, one egg, vanilla, flour, baking soda and salt in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Gently fold in flour. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Fold the egg white into the batter. Spoon mixture into a lined cupcake pan, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way. Bake 20 minutes, or until the tops spring back when you touch them lightly and a toothpick inserted into the top comes out clean. Allow to cool completely. Meanwhile, mash the berries with a fork. Mix into the icing. When cupcakes are cool, spread about 1 tbsp. icing onto each of them. Top with whole blackberries or candied lemon peel.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by Healthy. Delicious.

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
Starring pineapple, a fruit famously packed with vitamin C, this recipe offers a fun, low-cal twist on the traditional cupcake. Each can't-get-enough mouthful is infused with sweet pineapple flavor and a poppy seed crunch.

Ingredients:

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

1 can pineapple rings

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tbsp. dark rum (optional)

1/2 c. milk

2 tbsp. pineapple juice

1/4 c. poppy seeds

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cupcake pan with non-stick spray. Sprinkle 1/12th of the brown sugar into the bottom of each cup, then top with a pineapple ring. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add the butter and sugar to another bowl and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between additions. Beat in the vanilla and rum. Add half of the flour mixture and mix to combine. Mix in the milk and pineapple juice, then stir in the remaining flour. Gently fold in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter among the cups of your pan, so that the pineapple ring is on the bottom. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until fully cooked. Allow to cool, then invert pan onto a baking sheet to remove cakes.

Makes 12 cakes.

Recipe provided by Healthy. Delicious.

Gluten-Free Quinoa Cupcakes
These no-fuss cupcakes are packed with protein, thanks to the quinoa base that perfectly complements a cinnamon apple center. A simple penuche frosting made with brown sugar crowns each treat (psst… cut down on calories even more by slashing the amount of confectioner's sugar in half).

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

2 1/2-3 c. apples (about 2 medium sized apples), diced

1/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 c. water

1/4 c. dark rum

4 large eggs

9 tbsp. butter (1 stick + 1 tbsp.)

1 c. sugar

1 1/3 c. cooked quinoa

1 3/4 c. rice flour

1 tsp. baking powder
For the frosting:

1/2 c butter

1 c. brown sugar, packed

1/4 c. milk

2 c. confectioner's sugar, sifted

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Simmer the apple cubes with the water, sugar, cinnamon and rum until the apple is cooked and almost all the liquid is evaporated. Whisk the egg and sugar and add the melted butter. Stir well. Add the quinoa, mix well and then add the flour and baking powder. Stir well. Fill 12 cupcake liners about 1/3 full with batter. Add a layer of apples. Top with another layer of batter so that they are all about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the tops bounce back when you touch them.

For the frosting:

In a saucepan, melt 1/2 c. butter. Add the brown sugar. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium low and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually add sifted confectioner's sugar. Beat until thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little hot water.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by Cupcake Project

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
Ditch the usual butter and eggs in favor of soy milk, canola oil, and apple cider vinegar. Spiked with a generous dose of cocoa powder, this vegan-friendly dessert contains almost zero saturated fat. Before baking, drop a fresh strawberry slice on top of each cupcake as a nutritious frosting alternative.

Ingredients:

1 c. soy milk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. almond extract, chocolate extract or more vanilla extract

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/3 c. cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat till foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add in two batches to the wet ingredients and beat till no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are okay). Pour into liners, filling three-quarters of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and let cool completely.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by Snack Girl

Banana Rum Cupcakes with Rum Glaze
Eaten fresh and warm, these gluten-free cupcakes melt in your mouth. A ripe banana replaces half the butter in the spongy, moist cake, and a decadent drizzle of rum glaze makes this a practically irresistible dessert.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

25 g. Earth Balance Buttery Spread

25 g. very ripe banana (about 1/4 medium banana)

50 g. white sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. rum extract

20 g. potato starch

15 g. tapioca starch

15 g. sorghum flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. xanthan gum


For the rum glaze:

1 tsp. Earth Balance Buttery Spread

2 tsp. water

1.5 tbsp. white sugar

1/2 tsp. rum extract

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place four cupcake liners in a muffin/cupcake pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the Earth Balance Buttery Spread and the banana.  Whisk together until smooth, then add the sugar and mix well.  Add the egg, vanilla and rum extract and beat together. In a separate small bowl, combine the tapioca starch, potato starch, sorghum flour, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.  Add to the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour into the prepared cupcake liners and bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the cupcake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let sit in the hot muffin pan for another 3-5 minutes (so they don't fall apart when you take them out).  Remove to a cooling rack and let cool the rest of the way. When they are totally cool, poke a bunch of holes in the top with a fork and drizzle a good amount of rum glaze over the top so that it sinks into the cupcake. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.  Microwave for a few seconds before serving.


For the rum glaze:

Combine the butter, water, sugar and rum extract in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Continue to simmer for 1-3 minutes or until it just starts to get thick.  Drizzle over the cooled cupcakes immediately (or it will get too thick to drizzle).

Makes 4 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by Gluten Freedom

Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey-Drizzled, Peanut Butter Frosting
Sneak veggies into your diet with every bite of these protein-rich cupcakes! A dense fudge-like texture and creamy peanut butter frosting disguise the surprise ingredients, like zucchini and pumpkin, used to make these tasty chocolate creations.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

1/3 c. whole-wheat flour

1/3 c. white flour

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla

3/4 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. pumpkin

1 c. zucchini, grated

1 egg

2/3 c. almond milk (or skim milk)

For the frosting:

1/2 c. natural peanut butter

1/4 c. Greek yogurt

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. stevia or other sweetener

Honey for drizzling

Directions:

For the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place liners in a cupcake pan. Mix together the whole-wheat flour, white flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside. In a separate bowl mix the vanilla, brown sugar, pumpkin, zucchini, egg and almond milk. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until just combined (the batter will be thick). Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 17-20 minutes, until cupcakes are springy when touched. Let cool completely before icing.

For the frosting:

Stir together the peanut butter, Greek yogurt, vanilla and Stevia. If you prefer a
sweeter icing, add more sweetener to taste. Ice the cupcakes right before serving Drizzle honey over top. Due to the lack of fat in the recipe and the Greek yogurt in the icing, if not eaten immediately, the cupcakes should be kept in the refrigerator.

Makes 8 cupcakes.

Recipe provided by Young Married Chic

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